I try to do most of the grooming and general maintenance for my dogs at home because, let’s face it, clipping, nail trims, brush outs, and baths get expensive. Keeping a few grooming tools for dogs around the house just seemed to make sense. Right now we have one dog with relatively short hair who sheds like crazy, a poodle mix with high maintenance hair, and an Airedale with a long coat and skin issues so there is a lot to maintain. Kimbo gets brushed regularly while Tucker and Stitch (the Airedale) stay clipped.

The tools below are what I absolutely have to have in order to keep these guys in a state where they can be lived with.


This was probably my biggest investment but I knew I would get so much use out of it. For years I used a cheap par if clippers that I can’t even remember where I got but I finally decided to upgrade after we adopted Tucker and his very fine hair coat. My other clippers didn’t make a dent on all his hair. I purchased these trimmers with this additional blade so I could avoid cutting his hair close enough for a surgery.

Nail Trimmers

This is my favorite type of nail trimmer. It is heavy-duty enough to handle trimming nails on larger dogs while still maintaining enough precision for smaller dogs and puppies. I like that the handles are also comfortable to grip. Most models like this also have a guard you can use to determine where to cut the nail but I rarely use this since each dog is different and the guard might still be too far away on some dogs.

Nail trimmers also come in a model that looks kind of like a guillotine:

I am not a big fan of these because they are harder for me to grip, it takes longer to get the nail threaded through the opening to trim it, and sometimes they don’t handle large dogs and their bigger paws well.

De-shedding Brush

We seem to always have at least one dog who has a double coat that they shed about twice a year. This produces and absolutely insane amount of hair – German Shepherd owners you know what I am talking about. Several years ago we purchased a Furminator to try and deal with this problem and it has really come in handy.

Kimbo get brushed with this at least once a week – otherwise our vet calls him a Chupacabra. Incidentally, this brush has worked well on our long haired cats too.

De-matting Brush

It looks like an instrument of torture but it really comes in handy if your dog’s fur happens to get matted. I try really hard to keep everyone in a groomed enough state that this does not happen but we let the Airedale, Stitch, grow her coat out over the winter and her superpower is finding ever burr within a mile radius of the yard so these cause lots of tangles. We don’t need it very often but when we do, this tool is much easier to use that a standard brush and keeps us from having to cut out a chunk of hair.

Styptic Powder

This stuff, now, this stuff is magical. It stops bleeding faster than anything I have ever used and every veterinarian I have worked for has kept a bottle in every room of the clinic. If you trim a nail to the quick and all of a sudden there’s a blood bath, this is what you want to have on hand. As an added bonus it contains benzocaine which will help numb the pain when it is applied. It’s a pretty small bottle but you don’t apply much and hopefully accidentally trim to the quick very often so this will last forever.

Final Thoughts

The other things I absolutely keep on hand are related to baths and I have a separate post planned for that topic that will go over the different shampoos I use to address various skin issues. Each of the tools mentioned here addresses a different need so that makes it easy to pick and choose what you specifically want to keep on hand for your dog – you may have been smarter than me and acquired a dog that only needs nail trims and a brush!

Even if you live with, say, a Weimaraner who has almost no hair, you will probably find the nail trimmers and styptic powder handy to have. All the pictures above will link to the item shown but feel free to browse and choose brands that work best for you. The clippers and styptic powder are the only brand items I specifically recommend sticking to simply because those have stood the test of time in both my veterinary and home experiences. Enjoy!